If you have suffered an injury or illness at your place of employment, you deserve to be compensated. Your avenue for recovering compensation will be determined by who is responsible for your workplace injury. In a large number of cases, you will be eligible for benefits under your employer’s workers’ compensation policy. Workers’ comp provides coverage for medical expenses, lost wages, and permanent disabilities.
In Alabama, most private businesses are required to provide workers’ compensation insurance for their employees. There are a few exceptions, such as companies with fewer than five employees, casual or seasonal employees, household domestic workers, agricultural workers, railroad workers, and certain workers in the trucking and transportation industry.
Workers’ compensation provides no-fault coverage, meaning that, with a few exceptions, employees are eligible for benefits regardless of who was at fault for the workplace accident. In exchange for the no-fault provision, benefits more limited than what would be available through a personal injury lawsuit. For example, you cannot recover damages for physical pain and suffering, emotional distress, and diminished quality of life through a workers’ comp claim.
Although most employees who are injured on the job are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, employers sometimes dispute a claim and/or put up unnecessary roadblocks to frustrate the injured employee into giving up. For this reason, it is always best to have your case reviewed by a seasoned workers’ compensation lawyer to help ensure that you are able to recover the compensation you deserve.
What if Another Party is Responsible for my Workplace Injury?
There are times when you may be able to recover compensation outside of workers’ comp if a party other than your employer was responsible for your injuries. Here are some examples:
Your Injury was Caused by the Negligence of a Third Party
There are times when a workplace injury may be caused another party who is not your employer or coworker. One of the most common scenarios in which this may apply is when an employee is involved in an auto accident that is the fault of the other driver. For example, if you are out making a delivery for your company and someone runs a red light and crashes into you, you may be able to file a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver and receive damages over and above your workers’ compensation benefits. Another frequent scenario is when construction company employees are working at a job site alongside third-party subcontractors who have been hired to perform certain tasks. If one of those subcontractors causes the injury, you may be able to sue them for damages.
Your Injury was Caused by a Product Defect
Employees in many industries frequently work with heavy machinery and equipment. If a machine or piece of equipment is defective, malfunctions, or is inherently dangerous and causes injury to an employee, the injured employee may be able to bring a product liability claim against the designer, manufacturer, supplier, or distributor of the faulty product.
Your Injury was Caused by the Willful Conduct of a Coworker
In general, Alabama does not allow injured employees to bring a personal injury claim against a negligent coworker. In rare cases, however, an injured worker may have a claim against the coworker under Alabama Code Section 25-5-11 for willful conduct that caused the injury. To be successful, however, you must prove that your coworker knowingly engaged in conduct that was intended to injure you. There is a high standard of proof with these types of claims, and they should not be initiated without the assistance of an experienced attorney.
Contact the Seasoned Workplace Injury Lawyers at Burge & Burge
If you have been injured in a workplace accident, there is a good chance that you are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. The workers’ comp claims process can be complex and confusing, however, and many eligible employees have their claims denied. There may also be other options for recovering compensation, depending on your situation.
At Burge & Burge, we have extensive experience successfully representing clients for workers’ compensation claims, Federal Employer Liability Act (FELA) claims for railroad workers, and all other types of personal injury actions. Our in-depth knowledge of these areas of the law allow us to thoroughly evaluate your case and explore every potential legal avenue toward obtaining full and fair compensation. For a free consultation with one of our attorneys, call our office today at 205-251-9000, or send us a message through our web contact form.